A letter that asks information about persons, products or services or other matters is an inquiry letter. The questions to be included in a good inquiry letter should be carefully planned. Following are the suggestions for making inquiries effective.
1. Make questions specific, clear and courteous.
2. State each question in a separate paragraph and number the questions if appropriate.
3. Use a separate sheet of paper for listing the questions if they are in large number.
4. Carefully arrange the questions – generally with the easiest to answer sheet.
5. Word the questions in neutral way to that the reader is not influenced.
6. Word the questions to get more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer if details are needed.
7. Word the question to get ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ answers, if numerous questions are to be tabulated.
8. Express confidence in the reader.
9. Assure secrecy.
KINDS OF INQUIRY LETTERS:
Inquiry letters fall in three categories: 1. Trade inquiry, 2. Status inquiry and 3. General inquiry.
1. Trade Inquiry:-
A trade inquiry (or sales related inquiry) is written with the intention of making business deals with the addressee. Such inquiry letters are written regarding products or services purchased or being considered for purchase. The trade inquiries ask information about the supply of goods, availability of goods, delivery time, leaflet or catalogue, quotations or price, method of transport, insurance, samples and terms and discount, etc.
2. Status Inquiry:-
Status inquiry is written to know the financial position of some individual or firm usually perspective buyer. Inquiries about the character, qualifications, experience and performance of the applicant for job or membership may also be termed as status inquiries.
3. General Inquiries:-
General inquiry is made to get information about rules and procedures used in other organizations, government policies, market conditions etc. General inquiry may also seek information for private or business research. For example a firm may receive injuries for various data from students, teachers or executives of other organizations.